They spend most of their time working in a cage or on the field working on their game. They dedicate themselves to the skills of their trade, and the results are improved performance and sometimes upward progression through baseball (college, pro).
One thing happens to 99% of those players: their physical ability limits their future.
Their skills reach its current peak. They have a good swing, great hands, and a good feel for the game.
The problem: they are slow, weak, and marginalized by the more natural athletes.
The Time Crunch
Where ability and higher skill levels can separate you when you are younger, you begin to meet athletes of similar skill levels the higher up you get. The difference no longer becomes one of skill, but of physical prowess.
Then panic sets in.
A 20 year old athlete that hasn’t strength trained seriously now finds himself being passed by other players with greater physical talents. No scouts show up, and the clock is ticking on their career.
Now, instead of training at 14 for long term development, with 4-8 years of training time to build out the traits of a more complete athlete, this athlete only has 6 months to a year.
The lazy mentality and the chasing of dreams will cause many to crack with the pressure.
I have spoken with coaches before who would say “you either have it or you don’t, baseball is different”
Are you sure about that?
What Does Science Say?
A study done on all levels of pro baseball studied the differences in power and strength between the lowest levels of baseball and the major leagues.
What do you think it found?
The biggest, fastest, and strongest athletes made it to the major leagues.
The average weight was 20 lbs heavier, the average height was static, body fat was actually higher at the MLB level, but peak power, grip strength, and speed were all higher at the MLB level.
The scientists concluded:
“Results indicated that both anthropometric and performance variables differed between players of different levels of competition in professional baseball. Agility, speed, and lower-body power appeared to provide the greatest predictive power of baseball-specific performance”
Simply stated: size didn’t matter – athleticism was the biggest indicator of success!
Hold The Phone
If you clicked the link and saw the data (you did, didn’t you?), you would have noticed that the average vertical jump was 28”, while the average size was 223 lbs in the MLB.
Well, what about an NFL player? They are tested on their vertical at the NFL combine. So I looked into this years draft class of inside linebackers, the people closest in size to the average MLB player.
The comparison is shocking:
Average Weight (MLB) 223
Average Weight (Linebacker) 242
Average Vertical Jump (MLB) 28”
Average Vertical Jump (Linebacker) 33.8”
Linebackers are bigger than the MLB average size, yet are producing on average 20.7% more power.
Well, football has a built in training emphasis. If you want to play football at a high level, you KNOW that you need ever increasing athleticism on top of a body to match.
This training for some starts as early as 8 years old. By the time they get to be 21 years of age, their athleticism is well ahead of other sports because they took the time to work on it.
Who are a few of the biggest freaks the MLB has to offer these days?
Mike Trout. Giancarlo Stanton. Bryce Harper
Mike Trout was a HS football player in New Jersey, where training was obviously a key component
Giancarlo Stanton had D1 offers to play football; again, he trained his body to reach the highest levels.
Lastly, Bryce Harper. Bryce is currently in a number of commercials where his workouts take center stage. Here though, is a video of 19 year old Bryce talking about his training (2:00)
Do you think that he would be where he is if he wasn’t spending the time from an early age committed to preparing a pro body?
Barry Bonds was a great player before he took steroids. He did it to get back out in front of inferior players. Same thing with A-Rod.
What you don’t talk about are the High School and college age athletes who do it to secure position. To make up for the work that they aren’t willing to put in.
It is the culture of baseball. The idea of skills over physical that has lead to this.
More hitting lessons. More games. More practice. More cage time. Without building a better athlete.
I say all the time: I can make you the best go-kart driver in the world, but if you want to race NASCAR you need a bigger engine.
The weight room is where we build that engine.
The Future Of Baseball Training
We have athletes throwing 95+.
We have hitters who have won best hitter awards.
We have athletes put on 25 lbs and get faster then ever before.
These athletes will have it all. These are the athletes that the non-training athletes need to fear.
They don’t need performance enhancing drugs, because they can build a body and athleticism better than most of baseball simply by starting early and committing to the process.
Just like Bryce Harper.
If you need more direction, drop a comment and we will help guide you on a path to better.
Bill Rom is a strength and conditioning coach on Long Island, New York. Bill has been training both athletes and general population clients since 2006. His clients have ranged from adolescents to 70 year old grandmothers, and from peewee athletes up to former and current D1 athletes.
At Prospect Sports, where Bill is the director, he works with a number of professional athletes from the NFL, MLB, MiLB and more.
Additionally, Bill has been published on EliteFTS.com, one of the top strength and conditioning websites in the world, as well as Stack.com; a website dedicated to improving athletes and is currently working on stories for LiveStrong.com.
He also has done a number of speaking engagements including the NSCA and is continuing to pick up more.
Bill is one of the top young strength and conditioning coaches in the country, and arguably the top strength coach on Long Island.
Superior Athletics is a high performance facility located in Farmingdale, NY, roughly 40 miles from Manhattan. We specialize in helping each athlete, whether a 12 year old soccer player, a 25 year old pro, or an everyday mom, achieve their ultimate success in life or in sports